For a car owner, a flood can be your worst nightmare — especially if you’re not prepared to either evacuate or take steps to protect your car from the rising waters. Hurricane Harvey alone may have destroyed upwards of half a million cars and trucks. What can you do to protect your investment if you know there is a flood coming?
Lift It Up
No, we’re not talking about putting a lift kit on your car — though if you want to do that, it’s totally up to you. During a flood, you always know to get to higher ground, so why not raise your car a little higher, too? There are a variety of ways you can do this, including:
- Lifts, jacks and blocks — Sometimes an extra foot or two is all you need to keep your car out of the rising floodwaters. While ideally, you want to keep your garage from flooding — more on this in a minute — if it’s not possible to avoid it, getting your car off the floor might make all the difference.
- Rafts — If you’re expecting excessive amounts of rain, or flooding like we saw in Texas with Hurricane Harvey, a raft can help you keep your car afloat. One Porsche owner did just that during some unseasonably heavy rains in Kentucky in 2011. His Porsche 934 sat on an air bladder, floating atop the floodwaters, for nearly two weeks.
This option might not be available for everyone, but even moving your car into a public parking garage during a flood can help keep it out of the water and safe from the flood.
Put It in a Ziploc Bag
This idea might sound a little crazy, but hear us out. In response to the floods in Houston and the surrounding areas that destroyed so many cars, one company has created an easy-to-use flood protection system – which is essentially the equivalent of driving your car into a giant Ziploc bag.
You open the bag, drive your car in, shut off your engine and vacuum-seal the bag to protect your vehicle against floodwaters. It even has bumpers on it that allow it to float if the water level starts getting too high.
There isn’t a whole lot of information about the bag’s capabilities yet — as in, will it stand up to the winds of a Category 5 hurricane, or will it allow your car to drift away? — but for roughly $280, if it can protect your car from rising floodwaters, it might be worth the investment.
Repair and Reinforce Your Garage
Your garage door is your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your car from floodwaters — but if you haven’t bothered to maintain it, that door could also be the first failure point on your home once the storm hits.
Before flood season starts, take some time to inspect your garage for weak points, including cracks in the floor or walls around the door, and crumbling weather stripping. It might not be a waterproof seal, but that weather stripping can help keep moisture and stormwater out of your garage for as long as possible.
Check your garage door for holes as well. These unrepaired holes could become failure points. Repairing them is simple, though — clean the edges of the hole and fill the damaged area with spray foam. Then just sand the repaired areas and repaint as needed.
We may never be able to avoid floods entirely, but we can take steps to protect ourselves, our homes and our cars from the rising floodwaters.
Scott Huntington is a writer and car fanatic from Harrisburg, PA. Check out his site offthethrottle.com or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.